Baroness Helene Hayman

Baroness Helene Hayman

Life Peer

The Rt Hon Baroness Hayman GBE was the first elected Lord Speaker of the House of Lords from 2006 to 2011. Born in 1949, she was educated at Wolverhampton Girls’ High School, and went on to read law at Newnham College, Cambridge, where she was elected President of the Union in 1969.

Following positions with Shelter, the Social Services Department of the London Borough of Camden and the National Council for One Parent Families, she was elected MP for Welwyn and Hatfield in October 1974. Aged 25, she was the youngest MP and one of only twenty-seven women MPs in the House of Commons at that time.

After losing her seat in 1979, she went on to help found a new charity, Maternity Alliance, and to serve as a school governor as well as a freelance broadcaster. She joined the Royal College of Gynaecologists Ethics Committee in 1980. This was the first of numerous roles in the health care sector, which also included Chair of the Whittington Hospital NHS Trust from 1992 to 1997; and, after her ministerial career, Chair of Cancer Research UK, Britain’s largest charity from 2001-2004. She was then appointed as Chair of the newly created statutory regulator, the Human Tissue Authority. She served as a Trustee of the Royal Botanical Garden Kew from 2002-2006.

In 1996 she entered the House of Lords as a Life Peer, becoming Opposition Spokesperson for Health, and following the 1997 General Election, Minister for Roads and subsequently Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Health. She was promoted in 1999 to Minister of State at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and was made a Privy Counsellor in 2001. She served on the Privy Council Committee of the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act during 2001-2002.

Following Government reforms to the role of the Lord Chancellor, Baroness Hayman was elected by Members of the House of Lords on 4 July 2006 to the new position of Lord Speaker. As well as chairing daily business in the Chamber, the Lord Speaker acts as an ambassador for the House at home and abroad. Baroness Hayman developed an active and wide-ranging programme designed to engage the public – especially young people – in the work of the House of Lords. She served as co-president of the UK branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and travelled extensively.

Since leaving office, Baroness Hayman has taken an increasing interest in issues relating to health in developing countries. As part of this work she undertook a VSO Parliamentary placement in Nepal and has become a Vice-Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases. In 2011, she joined the Board of Trustees of the Sabin Vaccine Institute in the United States and is currently participating in an Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) fellowship on the pharmaceutical industry, with a particular focus on the developing world.

Baroness Hayman recently joined the newly-formed Parliamentary and Political Service Honours Committee as an independent member, and was appointed Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) in the New Year Honours List 2012.

Baroness Hayman is married with four sons.